Press release: PTES forward planner 2015
Wildlife charity charts the year ahead, outlining media opportunities for print, broadcast and online news and features
Summary of initiatives
Key conservation species and habitats
1. Hedgehogs: working with the British Hedgehog Preservation Society to help Britain’s most iconic species
2. Hazel dormouse: co-ordinating the National Dormouse Monitoring Programme and dormouse reintroductions
3. Water voles: launching a national monitoring scheme for water voles
4. Wood pasture and parkland: mapping England’s remaining wood pasture and parkland
5. Traditional orchards inventory: sharing information to protect orchard habitat
6. Stag beetles: creating homes for stag beetles
7. Nature reserves: restoring habitats for wildlife
Conservation monitoring and research
8. Living with Mammals survey: monitoring mammals in the urban environment
9. Mammals on Roads survey: recording trends in mammal populations
10. Grants, research and internships programme: funding conservation research and projects, and developing the next generation of conservation scientists
Education and outreach
11. Wildlife Encounters: getting up-close with nature
12. Curriculum resources and outreach: engaging old and young alike in conservation issues
13. Saving Big Cats and Wild Dogs
14. Befriending a wild animal
15. Gifts of Nature
16. Wildlife guides (publications)
Key conservation species and habitats
1. Hedgehogs (Erinaceus europaeus)
PTES and the British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS) have been formally collaborating on hedgehog conservation since 2011. The joint campaign consists of different elements which target the varying conservation issues affecting the UK’s declining hedgehog population.
The main elements of our hedgehog work are –
– Hedgehog Street (2011-ongoing): the only nationwide campaign that empowers garden owners to create hedgehog-friendly neighbourhoods. Over 32,000 volunteer ‘Hedgehog Champions’ are registered through the website, www.hedgehogstreet.org. The website includes various free resources to empower local volunteers such as instructions on how to make a hedgehog house and a downloadable A-Z guide of hedgehog-friendly gardening tips. A new feature means people who’ve made a hole in their garden fence can add it to a national map – over 1,000 dots on the map and counting.
– Hedgehog Street show garden (summer 2014): winners of the Gold Medal and People’s Choice awards at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show
– National Hedgehog Survey (launched 2014 and ongoing): using the power of citizen science to survey hedgehogs through footprint tracking tunnels
– Training for land managers and consultants: various expert trainers deliver a day-long course developed by PTES/BHPS and other hedgehog experts and specifically targeting those people who control the open spaces in our towns and cities. The first training programme of its kind in the UK. Not suitable for the general public. 11 courses were run in 2013/14.
– Research: the campaign supports an extensive research programme tackling some of the gaps in our knowledge about the species. Research studies includes:
o calculating estimates for the minimum required area of land for sustainable populations (completed 2013)
o modelling the effects of hedgerow connectivity on the movement of hedgehogs through the landscape (completed 2013)
o radiotracking animals on arable farms to improve management advice for farmers (ends 2015)
o analysing how significant major roads are on restricting the movement of hedgehogs – and their genes (ends 2015)
o investigating hedgehog-badger coexistence nationwide
– Public outreach and events planned so far include:
o Hedgehog conference (TBC – November 2015)
– News or features on reasons for the decline of hedgehogs and easy, practical ways people can help
– Interviews with PTES/BHPS hedgehog experts
– Filming or interviews with volunteer Hedgehog Champions from Hedgehog Street can be arranged
2. Hazel dormouse (Muscardinus avellanarius)
2015 marks the 25th year of the National Dormouse Monitoring Programme (NDMP), led by PTES and co-funded by Natural England. NDMP is the longest running national mammal monitoring project in the world, providing valuable data on national dormouse population trends. It involves over 1,000 trained volunteers checking nest-boxes for dormice, details of which are then submitted to PTES for analysis.
In addition to monitoring the status of the species, PTES also manages re-introductions. So far, 24 re-introductions have taken place across 12 English counties, with more than 750 dormice being released over the last 20 years.
– Filming and photography of a re-introduction can be arranged; the 2015 re-introduction is likely to take place in Rutland in June
– Filming and photography of nest-box checks with conservationists licensed to handle dormice can also be arranged at Briddlesford Woods on the Isle of Wight on: 23/24 May, 20/21 June, 19/20 September, 24/25 October
3. Water voles (Arvicola amphibious)
Water voles, their breeding sites and resting places are protected by law. PTES is currently leading on the development of methodology for a new, national programme to monitor this species.
– An announcement with further details of the project will be made in spring 2015
4. Wood pasture and parkland
PTES has a longstanding interest in the conservation of threatened saproxylic invertebrates (invertebrates which depend on dead and decaying wood). Building on the success of its inventory of remaining traditional orchard habitat in England and Wales, the charity is now seeking to extend the model to wood pasture and parkland conservation and the species it supports.
Although wood pasture and parkland is a UK Priority habitat and occurs in SACs, SSSIs and Registered Historic Parks, it is vulnerable to changing land use patterns and development, putting the abundant biodiversity that inhabits it under great threat.
PTES will submit a full application to the HLF by the end of December, outlining proposals for ground-truthing the wood pastures and parklands inventory published by Natural England in 2014. If successful with the funding application, PTES will be able to pilot a study of wood pasture and parkland in the Cotswolds area.
– An announcement with further details of the project will be made in spring 2015 if the application is successful
5. Traditional orchards inventory
Having completed a comprehensive inventory of the remaining traditional orchards in England (completed 2011) and Wales (completed 2013), PTES is now developing an online support centre for orchard owners to help them maintain and restore their traditional orchards into the best habitat possible for biodiversity. Information on fruit varieties arising from the orchard inventories will be made available to view as a map of individual cultivars. Data regarding important museum collections and rare specimens will be collated into a database that can be used to connect the public to genetic resources.
PTES has a strong partnership with the National Trust regarding the need for regional collections of tree varieties to protect those threatened with extinction. Together they are working to establish new regionally focused cider apple orchards at eight NT properties in a process that will secure the National Collection of Cider Apples in the UK ensuring that it continues to be available as a genetic resource.
An app, PTES Orchard Mapper, makes the task of adding sites and collecting data easier, and is available for free to anyone with access to a smartphone. It is downloadable from iTunes or GooglePlay.
– News, features, interviews with PTES experts
– Review of the app: PTES Orchard Mapper
6. Stag beetles (Lucanus cervus)
PTES is the lead partner for the UK Biodiversity Action Plan on stag beetles, which is Britain’s largest terrestrial beetle and is classified as an endangered species. Historically, stag beetles have been recorded throughout much of Western Europe, but are now thought to be very rare or even extinct throughout much of their former range.
PTES is running the Great Stag Hunt from April to August 2015 and is calling upon the general public to report any sightings of this unique creature via their website.
Create habitats to nurture the beetle’s larvae by building Stepping Stones for Stags – vertical and partially sunken log piles in gardens, parks and school yards. Simple instructions are available at www.ptes.org/stagbeetles
To engage young people, PTES and Royal Holloway, University of London have produced a free resource pack on stag beetles crammed with fun, educational activities for Key Stages 1 and 2. The pack, Meet the Stag Beetle, consists of a range of exciting and challenging activities aimed at educating children about the stag beetle, its ecology and the problems it faces. Activities are designed to be stand-alone or linked together with the curriculum, and can also support literacy, key skills and thinking skills. A few examples include:
• creating beetle sculptures from natural materials, where children learn about the anatomy of stag beetles
• creative writing, where children can write their own stag beetle-shaped poem
• building a log pile, encouraging children to think about the habitat of stag beetles
• playing wildlife bingo, teaching children to observe the wildlife around them
• writing bug passports, where children can take part in a mini-beast hunt and observe and record one chosen bug and the place it lives
– Launching the Great Stag Hunt Survey which starts April 2015
– The education pack, Meet the Stag Beetle, is available to download for free on www.ptes.org/education or call 020 7498 4533.
7. Nature reserves
PTES owns and manages two reserves: Briddlesford Woods on the Isle of Wight and Rough Hill Orchard in Worcestershire.
Briddlesford Woods is a large area of ancient, semi-natural woodland and is home to a diverse array of wildlife including red squirrels, dormice and rare woodland bats. Some areas of the reserve are open to the public. A particularly good time to visit is when dormouse nest-box checks are scheduled, or in early spring when the woodland floor is a carpet of bluebells.
Rough Hill Orchard is a small, traditional orchard and was purchased by PTES in 2003. It contains around 180 trees and is a haven for invertebrates. In a survey of the orchard, 13 nationally scarce species were discovered, and one Red Data book listed species.
– Filming of conservation work with volunteers and experts can be arranged, such as dormouse nest-box checks in Briddlesford Woods on:
– Event listings: www.ptes.org/events
Conservation monitoring and research
8. Living with Mammals survey
For over a decade the public has been recording their observations of mammals and their tell-tale signs in the built environment, helping to provide a picture of how towns and cities can support our native wildlife. The survey takes place through April, May and June each year; volunteers need to spend some time observing a chosen site each week, for eight or more weeks throughout the survey period.
– Press information for long leads will be available in December 2014 with the main call for volunteers to take part in March 2015 issues
– Press release with the results of the 2014 survey and call for 2015 volunteers will be available for other media in March 2015
9. Mammals on Roads survey
This annual survey asks motorists to record sightings of any mammals they spot from their vehicle in order to build up a clearer picture of the state of our wildlife populations. Volunteers are asked to record sightings of mammals, both alive and dead, that they see during the course of road journeys of 20 miles or more during July, August and September. The survey helps PTES build a picture of both the abundance and distribution of the UK’s wild mammal populations and permits long-term trends in fluctuating populations that might otherwise be overlooked, to be analysed.
Participants can now take part in the survey via Mammals on Roads apps for iPhones and Androids.
– Press information for long leads will be available in April 2015 with the main call for volunteers to take part in July 2015 issues
– Call for 2015 volunteers will be available for other media in June 2015
10. Grants, research and internship programmes
PTES funds an internship programme to enable individuals to carry out vital research focused on specific invertebrate or mammal-related projects, whilst being mentored by some of the leading scientists in the field. Over the last 13 years, 71 young scientists have been awarded grants of up to £4,000 from PTES.
2015 mammal and invertebrate internships are currently being advertised and will be announced in May.
2015 UK grant decisions will be made in December 2014 and overseas grants will be awarded in April, July and September 2015.
Grants for 2014 included:
Applicant Species Country Grant Type
Miss Nadia Jogee Mallorcan Midwife Toad UK UK herpetological internship grant
Miss Bryony Manley Risso’s dolphin England UK mammal internship grants
Miss Esther Kettel Water vole, European Otter, Water shrew UK UK mammal internship grants
Dr Richard Yarnell Western european hedgehog UK UK mammal research and conservation grants
Dr Kate Barlow Nathusius’ Pipistrelle UK UK mammal research and conservation grants
Dr Edwin Harris Hazel dormouse England UK mammal research and conservation grants
Dr Stuart Newson Soprano pipistrelle UK UK mammal research and conservation grants
Prof Xavier Lambin Water vole UK UK mammal research and conservation grants
Dr Johnny Birks Pine marten UK UK mammal research and conservation grants
Dr Bernard Kissui Lion Tanzania Worldwide continuation grants
Mr Alain Lushimba Bonobo Democratic Republic of Congo Worldwide continuation grants
Mr Abdullahi Ali Hirola Kenya Worldwide continuation grants
Ms Bayarjargal Agvaantseren Snow leopard Mongolia Worldwide small grants
Dr Gillian Braulik Indian Ocean hump-back dolphin Tanzania Worldwide small grants
Dr Anagaw Meshesha Mountain Nyala Norway Worldwide small grants
Mr Nabajit Das Bengal slow loris India Worldwide small grants
Dr Ian Little Sungazer South Africa Worldwide small grants
Ms Charlotte Beckham Jaguar UK Worldwide small grants
Miss Hannah Braithwaite Siamese crocodile UK Worldwide small grants
Ms Johanna Rode Bawean warty pig UK Worldwide small grants
Mr Mbunya Francis Nkemnyi Cross river gorillas Belgium Worldwide small grants
Ms Zoe Muller Rothschild’s giraffe, Reticulated giraffe UK Worldwide small grants
Mr Richard Lansdown Beautiful water-starwort England Worldwide small grants
– Interviews with grant recipients
Education and outreach
11. Wildlife Encounters
PTES organises special events that provide the chance to have a truly close encounter with wildlife in the UK. Individuals and family groups can visit the PTES nature reserves and take an active part in conservation, from helping to check nest-boxes for dormice to photographing water voles.
The programme of events can be viewed online at www.ptes.org/events.
– Press pass to an event
– Event listing: www.ptes.org/events
12. Curriculum resources and outreach
Free education resources for KS1 and KS2 containing information packs and curriculum-linked activities on endangered species are available to download at www.ptes.org/education. Resources include Meet the Stag Beetle, Mammal Detectives, hedgehog activities, big cats and wild dogs activities and more.
People can also come and meet PTES at the following major wildlife events in 2015:
– Bristol Festival of Nature: 13th and 14th June
– Birdfair, Rutland: 21st – 23rd August
13. Saving Big Cats and Wild Dogs
Many of the world’s top carnivores are classified as endangered and PTES is funding scientific research and practical action to help save these big cats and wild dogs. Through their novel twinning initiative, people can twin their favourite pet with an endangered carnivore and the financial support goes directly towards conserving the species of choice.
Twinned pets will receive an engraved ID tag to wear with pride along with an electronic personalised certificate with the pet’s photo, regular e-newsletters and the PTES magazine, Wildlife World.
– Features about gifts
14. Befriend a wild animal
For those who can’t own a pet, but would like to, they can befriend a wild animal. Friends of wild animals will receive a keyring along with regular e-newsletters and the PTES magazine, Wildlife World.
– Features about gifts
15. Gifts of Nature
PTES offers a range of gifts inspired by the natural world for celebrations such as birthdays, Mother’s Day, Easter, Father’s Day, weddings, Christmas etc. All profits go directly to support the conservation work of the charity and projects include:
• Winter Wonderland: supporting the coppicing of hazel trees in ancient woodland on the Isle of Wight, ensuring high yields of hazelnuts for red squirrels and dormice
• Liberty for Lorises: saving wild Javan slow lorises from the brutalities of the illegal pet trade
• Sheepdogs in Africa: donate funds to train Anatonian sheepdogs to protect livestock from cheetahs in Africa, and in turn saving the cheetahs from hunting by farmers
• Speed camera for jaguars: donations to provide cameras to photograph and count jaguar and puma numbers whose habitat in Paraguay is threatened by development
• Snow Leopard Patrol: creating new patrol zones for snow leopards which will be owned and safeguarded by local communities
– Features about gifts
– The PTES Christmas catalogue is usually available from October, offering a wide range of gifts, cards, publications and more
16. Wildlife guides
Urban Mammals – a full colour concise guide with a foreword by Chris Packham
“I hope that this introduction to Britain’s urban mammal fauna will lead to a real appreciation of its fragility, its beauty and its real value, that intolerance and prejudice will be banished and that, like me, you will celebrate and enjoy this remarkable set of creatures” – Chris Packham
Illustrated guide to the mammals found in urban spaces including gardens, allotments, churchyards, parks etc. It provides information about the top ten ‘most likely to see’ mammals and information on other more unusual species, takes a look at what the various urban habitats have to offer mammals and details of where to send your mammal sightings.
Britain’s Mammals – a full colour concise guide
Beautifully illustrated with vivid photographs of 65 mammals found in the UK, this is an essential guide for all wildlife observers. It provides specific information and conservation status about each species as well as UK distribution maps and interesting and unusual facts.
Each book is priced at £9.99.
– Book review
– Gift feature
– ENDS –
For further information, interview requests, or images please call Jane Bevan or Susannah Penn at Firebird PR on 01235 835297/ 07977459547 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to Editors
• PTES is a UK conservation charity created in 1977 to ensure a future for endangered species throughout the world. Working to protect some of our most threatened wildlife species and habitats, it provides practical conservation support through funding research and internships; providing grant-aid for world-wide and native mammals species conservation; supporting education, training and outreach programmes; and driving public participation via wildlife monitoring surveys, publications, campaigns and events. Priority species and habitats include hazel dormice, hedgehogs, water voles, noble chafer and stag beetles and traditional orchards and native woodlands.
• More information about PTES can be found at www.ptes.org